The festive period is often a very food-oriented time of year, we indulge in delicious foods, sweet desserts and beige buffets for a couple of days. This often leads to New Year’s resolutions based upon dieting, weight loss and gym memberships. While for many people this is not a problem, for people who suffer from an eating disorder or are in recovery from one this makes new years a very overwhelming and stressful time.
An eating disorder is defined by an unhealthy relationship with food, this could involve too much or too little food and an obsession with weight, calories and body shape. There are many types of eating disorders and they can look different on everyone, there is no ‘one look’ for an eating disorder.
The goals many people set at this time of year such as reducing calories and weight loss can be very triggering for individuals with an eating disorder. Everyone is talking about their new diet plan, how much they are exercising and how much weight they have lost that week. This can put pressure on these individuals as they feel they need to do the same, they decide they also need to lose weight and exercise more which is very dangerous for someone who is already very low weight. What’s even more dangerous is that some people describe their time having an eating disorder by a competition, they felt they had to do better than everyone else (weigh less, eat less or do more exercise). With dieting and the gym being a focus for many people it brings these thoughts to the foreground for those suffering, which can be very harmful to them and may result in a relapse for those in recovery.
Conversations in the new year tend to be focussed on how much people ate over Christmas and how they have to now restrict themselves to make up for it or burn it off by joining a gym. Again this is very difficult to constantly hear when you have an eating disorder as you compare and feel guilty about what you ate over the holidays. Furthermore, hearing these types of conversations is hard for someone recovering, everyone is talking about eating less, while they need to eat more in order to recover and become a healthy weight. They feel like they are doing the opposite to everyone else and find themselves wanting to restrict their food again, even when doing so may hinder their recovery journey.
Additionally, social media is another place this year which is constantly filled with before and after pictures, pictures of peoples foods and weight loss ads and DVD’s being promoted. A very toxic place for those who struggle with food, they may get sucked in and start restricting to follow the weight loss trends.
Being someone with an eating disorder or in recovery is hard all year round, but especially at this time of year. You feel like everyone around you is talking about weight loss, exercise and strict diets. When recovering from an eating disorder you need to nourish your body, fix your relationship with food and reach a healthy weight. This is very hard when everyone around you is talking about eating less food, when your goal is to recover and eat more.
People this year will set new year’s resolutions revolving around weight and food, and for some people, this is a positive change in their lifestyle. However this year, please remember to be considerate of those around you, you don’t know what they may be going through and how all the food-oriented talk may affect them.
If you do have an eating disorder try your best to block out all the weight loss conversations, posts on Instagram and adverts on television, this is a hard task but just focus on your own goals and that recovering is your priority. Don’t think about what everyone else is doing, stick to your plan, nourish your body and believe in yourself, you can beat your eating disorder.
At Mindsum, we are here to help. You can book a free initial consultation and we can point you in the right direction to get the help you need.